UPDATE: Pinery Fire in Cochise County at 1,200 acres, 80 percent contained

Posted: Updated:
Handcrews thinning around structures in Chiricahua National Monument  (Source: NPS Photo by Jason Thivener) Handcrews thinning around structures in Chiricahua National Monument (Source: NPS Photo by Jason Thivener)
Pinery Fire in Cochise County (Source: Inciweb) Pinery Fire in Cochise County (Source: Inciweb)
Pinery Canyon fire (Source: Arizona State Forestry) Pinery Canyon fire (Source: Arizona State Forestry)
Pinery Canyon fire (Source: Arizona State Forestry) Pinery Canyon fire (Source: Arizona State Forestry)
(Source: Mark Baughman) (Source: Mark Baughman)
CHIRICAHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pinery Fire in Cochise County remains at 1,200 acres as of 6 p.m. Friday, May 18 and is 80 percent contained, according to the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. 

The Chiricahua National Monument will be opening on Saturday, May 19, according to the National Park Service. 

FR 42 / Pinery Canyon Road reopened May 16.

Crews have determined the fire was human-caused, according to a post from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and it is under investigation.

It began on private land, spread to the Chiricahua National Monument and eventually the Coronado National Forest.

Resources: Approximately 84 personnel including (two) hotshot crews (Mesa & Geronimo) , (two) Type 2 handcrews, (three) chippers, (two) dumptrucks, one backhoe, and support personnel.

Fuels: The fire is burning in the footprint of the 2011 Horseshoe 2 Fire, in an area with heavy grass, brush and dead and down vegetation. There is mixed conifer in higher elevations.

Weather: Breezy winds will diminish Friday overnight, with typical wind trends over the weekend. A low pressure system just northwest of the area will bring strong winds Monday and Tuesday. Due to persistent dry humidities, portions of southeast Arizona could approach critical fire weather conditions each of those days. High-based thunderstorms may develop just across the border in New Mexico on Monday, but our area appears dry for the time being. 
Winds ease by Wednesday and beyond, with occasional afternoon gusts typical for this time of year.

Summary: Fire activity is minimal, with some smoldering observed. The fire is hung up on cliffs and rocky outcroppings on ridgetops, and has not progressed further north into Chiricahua National Monument. No additional growth is expected. There have been no structures lost and no injuries.

Firefighters have constructed as much direct line as they're able to do so given the steep, rocky terrain. Hotshot crews are patrolling areas where they constructed direct handline, and are monitoring fire activity where it is hung up in the cliffs and rocky outcroppings. Handcrews are chipping cut vegetation from structural prep work in the Chiricahua National Monument headquarters area. This work is expected to take several days to complete.

Objectives: Firefighters are working to hold the fire north of FR 42, south of the 181 Road in Chiricahua National Monument, and west of the North Fork of Pinery on the FR356.

Challenges: The fire is burning in wilderness, in remote, steep, rugged terrain. There are limited water sources in the area. Warmer, drier weather and high winds are expected to continue.

Structures Threatened: The fire remains approximately one mile south of park infrastructure including headquarters buildings, employee housing, a campground and the historic Faraway Ranch in Chiricahua National Monument. The Sugarloaf Lookout tower is also located in Chiricahua National Monument. The fire is located approximately 7 miles west of the community of Paradise, AZ and approximately 5 miles southwest of private inholdings in Whitetail Canyon. There is also one house at the Coronado National Forest Pinery Administrative site.

EVACUATION INFORMATION

As of May 14, at 9 pm, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office has returned all areas on "SET" protocols (Paradise and the White Tail Canyon) to "READY" status.

Register for Cochise County Emergency Alerts at https://www.cochise.az.gov/emergency.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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